Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The King of Jazz

On Tuesday evening we went down to the Library of Congress to see a screening of the 1930 movie "The King of Jazz" starring the very appropriately named Paul Whiteman. He is not the first person that most people would think of as being jazz royalty, but he was definitely one of the most successful early bandleaders who played "jazzy" music. This movie is a spectacularly entertaining example of the musical revues that were popular back in the 1930's. It features singing, dancing, novelty numbers, and some very elaborate costumes and scenery.

The Library of Congress might consider placing this movie on the National Film Registry, which means that they would then be able to preserve it and repair some of the blurriness and scratchiness that exists on the original. If you are interested in the restoration and preservation of this movie let them know by writing to:
National Film Registry Public Review Process
M/B/RS Division, Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20540

Here are some clips from the movie that I found on YouTube.
This first clip is the cartoon prologue:

This one has some amazing dancing:

George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" was written as a result of a commission by Paul Whiteman. This is one of the earliest performances.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

I loved watching the film clips! The dancer's legs look like spaghetti. How is it even possible for legs to bend like that?